Tag Archives: Oscars

Trailer Thursday: “Kumiko the Treasure Hunter”

Every year around this time you hear some art house hipster complaining that the Independent Spirit Awards have somehow “gone Hollywood.” And while I can see how some people might think that — especially considering how much overlap there is these days between the Spirit Awards and the Oscars — actually, many of the films celebrated at the Spirit Awards are as freaking weird and independent as they come.

This year, there were two movies that got me excited enough to think about actually paying (!) to see them in a theatre. I know, shocking, huh? The first one was writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour’s B&W Iranian vampire spaghetti western A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night which, well, kind of had me at B&W Iranian vampire spaghetti western. So cool!

And the second movie was Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter. Starring Academy Award nominee Rinko Kikuchi (Babel) as a young Japanese woman on a quest to find buried treasure in the frozen American heartland, the movie looks just as cool as the concept sounds.

Scoring two Spirit Award nominations this season, one for Best Director (David Zellner) and a Best Actress nod for Kikuchi, Kumiko opens next month in select theatres and I, for one, cannot wait to see it. So, check out the badass trailer below and let me know what you think!

 

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Trailer Thursday: “The Slap”

I know Trailer Thursday’s are usually reserved for movies, but, this upcoming miniseries “event” on NBC looks just too crazy and bad/good not to share. I don’t know much about The Slap except that it is an American adaptation of a UK miniseries that actually won some acting awards and shit. And since this version features a cast of heavy-hitters (Peter Sarsgaard, Uma Thurman and Brian Cox in a miniseries? On NBC?! insanity!) and is directed by Oscar-nominated writer/director Lisa Cholodenko, I figure it’s either gonna be really good or really crazy bad.

Either way, our DVR has been set for weeks. Enjoy!

 

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Oscar Nominees 2015

OK, let’s just start with the biggest upset of the morning, no LEGO Movie Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature? What the hell?! To steal a line that has been tweeting around the internet all morning: everything is NOT awesome. Seriously, even the Best Original Song nomination for the film’s crazy-addictive “Everything is Awesome” can’t numb the pain of losing out on what many considered to be sure bet for Best Animated Feature. Wow…still totally shocked.

Also very disappointed to see Nightcrawler’s Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo overlooked in the acting categories. They both deserved serious consideration for their stellar work in the film, but, I am thrilled to see it score a Best Original Screenplay nod for writer/director Dan Gilroy. Nightcrawler was one of my favorite films last year and I’m definitely rooting for Gilroy to take home the gold, so, rock on, dude!

If I had one major gripe — aside from the two mentioned above — it’s that the Academy showered so much love and so many nominations on movies that, in my mind, were just OK. I mean, seriously, Whiplash and Foxcatcher for Best Picture? Yikes…

And while I’m delighted to see J.K. Simmons finally getting some Oscar love for his kick-ass turn in Whiplash, I gotta say, the rest of the movie is completely overrated. A total “actors movie” with a lot of showy stuff going on but not much else. Same thing with Foxcatcher. Again, very happy to see Steve Carrell finally snare a richly-deserved Best Actor nod, but, beyond the acting the movie was a mess and the fact that it scored Best Adapted Screenplay and Director nods is completely flabbergasting. Wow…

On the plus side, I actually yelped out loud (OK, more like screamed) when Laura Dern’s name was read in the Best Supporting Actress category. She gave an absolutely transcendent performance in Wild and if you ask me, this is her time to shine. She was the heart and soul of the film and literally lit up the screen with her powerful, soulful work. I think she was my favorite nomination this morning. Very excited for her!

I’m also totally stoked to see Boyhood continuing it’s climb to the top in a very chaotic award season. This movie has haunted me more than any other this year and I’m hoping it wins everything it’s nominated for. And yes, I know that means Patricia Arquette would beat Laura Dern in the Best Supporting Actress race, but, hey, there’s room for more than badass mother performance, so, I’m hoping for a tie!

Another cool surprise was the Best Original Song nomination for “Lost Stars” from another one of my favorite films last year, Begin Again. That movie was amazing and even if they didn’t get nominated for their performances in the film, I’m gonna pretend that Kiera Knightley and Mark Ruffalo’s Oscar nominations this morning — for The Imitation Game and Foxcatcher, respectively — were for that movie instead. Either way, glad the stodgy old Academy remembered this lovely film.

And speaking of memory (I know, nice transition here, sorry) I am so excited to see Julianne Moore in the Best Actress race for her career-best work in Still Alice. That movie devastated me and her performance is definitely the stuff Oscar gold is made of. And if you ask me, it’s about freaking time Moore takes home an Academy Award. No one even came close to her this year…she’s probably the one sure bet this season and she deserves everything she gets. Rock on, red!

And even though Guardians of the Galaxy missed out on a Best Picture nomination, it did score a Writers Guild of America nomination last week and picked up two Oscar nods this morning as well. One for Best Visual Effects, (go, Groot!) and one for Best Make-up and Hairstyling (go, Gamora!) so, I’m not complaining. On a related note, it was very cool to see something other than stuffy English period films in the Best Costume Design category with Maleficent and Inherent Vice picking up surprise and totally deserving nominations. Rock on, crazy Maleficent horns!

Speaking of Inherent Vice, even though I only liked the first hour of the film (which is perfect!) and it descended into total madness in the second half, I have to admit I am glad to see writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson nominated in the Best Adapted Screenplay category. Knowing Oscar voters, who have a rich history of rewarding people for the wrong movies, Anderson, who should have won for Boogie Nights, Magnolia and There Will Be Blood, will finally win an Oscar for his work here.

The bad news is that two really deserving writers got totally shut out in Anderson’s Adapted Screenplay category. Novelist Nick Hornby’s script for Wild was incredible and deeply moving. And though I haven’t seen it yet, Gilian Flynn’s adaptation of her novel Gone Girl is supposed to be pretty badass too. Sadly, their slots got taken by the likes of total groaners like Foxcatcher and Whiplash instead. Oy…makes me want to groan again.

And finally, even though Bradley Cooper knocked Jake Gyllenhaal out of the Best Actor race, Cooper gave one of the best male performances of the year in American Sniper and I was really glad to see the film pick up so many nods this year. It’s a really great flick with a, pardon my French, fucking doozy of an ending. Amazing!

OK, that’s all for now. You can find a complete list of this year’s nominees here. And, as always, I’m dying to hear what you guys think of this year’s crop of nominees, so, comment away!

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Date Night Movie: “Into the Woods”

Usually when I write about date night movies I'm taking about stuff that Mrs. Yeti and I see without Greta, but, tonight's “date night” was even more special. Greta and I saw a screening of Into the Woods on the Disney lot tonight and it was magical.

The movie was fantastic, the weather was wet and shimmery but not cold and the studio backlot was decorated to the hilt for tomorrow's annual tree lighting ceremony. Daddy/Daughter “date night” perfection! Seriously, we could have strolled around that gorgeous, candy-colored backlot all night…in fact, we kinda did. Enjoy the pics!

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Belated Oscar Night Rundown

Seeing as the Academy Awards aired like, weeks ago, by now you’ve probably watched and/or read all the post-Oscar coverage you can handle, but, for those of you still dying to know what I thought of the show (I know you’re out there!) well, here goes nothing…

First off, a little backstory on why it’s taken me so long to get to this. The simple answer is that Greta’s birthday usually falls one or two weeks after the Oscars. Which means that unless the Academy moves the show to an earlier date in the year, we will be hosting two parties on two subsequent weekends for the rest of our lives. Urgh! And seeing as this past birthday was Greta’s fifth and was attended not just by a dozen or so of her new preschool friends, but also by their siblings and parents…well, let’s just say that party planning in the Yeti household has gotten exponentially more complicated.

"Eat the fish, bitch!" Swedish Fish

I’m not saying it wasn’t fun and that Mrs. Yeti and I don’t genuinely enjoy planning parties for Greta (because we totally do!) but, as any harried parent can tell you, putting together a DIY kid’s birthday party, Princess-themed or otherwise, for your child can be hugely stressful for all involved. Most especially for the “royal couple” putting the whole shebang together in the first place.

Anyway, Greta’s party was awesome (I’ll post some highlight pics very soon, I promise!) and now that our party season is over I’m finally free to give you my thoughts on what I think just might have been the perfect Oscar telecast. I know lots of people had problems with the show, but, hell, I even thought Ellen was good this time around. And, considering my checkered past with that old union-busting scab, that’s really saying something!

Contrary to what critics have been saying, I thought DeGeneres was funny, entertaining and refreshingly edgy in spots. Her “Liza Minnelli impersonator” bit was hilarious, and that pizza delivery and A-list selfie stuff is already the stuff of Oscar legend. Classic! I also loved her opening joke about voters being racist if they didn’t vote for 12 Years a Slave. The movie was beautifully done and definitely worthy of every award it won, but, truer words were never spoken. Hilarious! And the rest of the winners this year were equally awesome.

"I am the captain now!" Pirate's Booty

The fact that Gravity lost the Best Picture trophy to 12 Years a Slave nonewithstanding, it was still very cool to see two of my favorite writer/directors, Alfonso Cuarón and Spike Jonze, pick up some long overdue hardware. And with history-making wins for people of color in several of the major categories, it was perhaps the most colorblind Oscar telecast ever as well!

Aside from becoming the youngest member in the exclusive EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) club on Sunday night, Frozen composer Robert Lopez also became the first Filipino-American Oscar winner. And though my personal loathing of 12 Years a Slave screenwriter John Ridley dates back to the trash-talking he did during the WGA strike in 2008, I have to admit, I was happy to see him become the second African-American screenwriter to win an Oscar, after Geoffrey Fletcher’s historic win for penning Precious.

Also very cool was the fact that Emmanuel Lubezki, the Mexican cinematographer who shot Gravity, and has been nominated seven times (seven times!!) for his gorgeous work on such modern classics as A Little Princess, Children of Men and The Tree of Life, finally took home the gold. And the fact that he won against such beautifully shot films as The Grandmaster and the breathtaking B&W cinematography in Nebraska, makes Lubezki’s triumphant win all the more sweet. Rock on, hermano!

iPad tribute to HER!

I also loved the fact that the awards were so evenly spread across the field of nominees, with movies like Gatsby and Dallas Buyers Club winning richly-deserved craft awards and 12 Years a Slave helmer, Steve McQueen, taking home an Oscar (and making Oscar history again as the first African-American director to win gold!) for his producing work on the film. The show gets tedious very quickly when the same movie sweeps every category, so, it was fun to see so many different movies bringing home the gold this year.

In fact, I think the only major nominee to go home empty-handed was American Hustle. And while I was sorry the academy couldn’t find some way to honor David O. Russell for his bad-ass work co-writing and directing Hustle, if indie-spirited filmmakers like Spike Jonze and Alfonso Cuarón can win Oscars, then, surely Mr. Russell’s day in the limelight is just around the corner. Same goes with Amy Adams, who, in my opinion can do no wrong onscreen. Her work in American Hustle is almost insanely perfect. So good!

That said, I was thrilled to see Cate Blanchett pick up her second Oscar for Blue Jasmine. Despite what people might say about Woody Allen’s tangled personal life, he is doing some of the best work of his career at the moment and, considering his resume, that is really saying something! And Blanchett’s work in Jasmine is some of the finest she’s ever done too. Man, she nailed it!

Sourdough bread for Woody's SF-set Blue Jasmine!

It was also very cool to see the hugely-popular Frozen pick up two awards. Even if you don’t have a five-year-old running around singing “Let it Go” all day long, you’ve gotta admit, that movie rocked. And even cooler than the fact that Frozen became the first straight-up Walt Disney Studios release to win Best Animated Feature (to date, Pixar has collected most of the trophies in that category) was the fact that presenter John Travolta provided us with an Oscar moment for the ages when he mispronounced Idina Menzel’s name when introducing her.

I don’t know what kind of crazy OT go-go juice that dude was drinking before the show, but his verbal f-up was freaking hysterical and already ranks up there with Jack Palance’s post-win push-ups and Björk’s swan dress as one of the top ten best Oscar moments ever. I mean, seriously, you can’t script that kind of crazy! So awesome!

Anyway, dying to hear what you guys thought of this year’s winners, losers, crazy presenters (yeah, I’m talking to you, Harrison Ford and Kim Novak!) and the show in general, so, by all means, comment away! And in the meantime, please feel free to enjoy these pics of the nominee-themed snacks we served at our very low-key Oscar party this year. My favorites, as always, were the golden Funyuns for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, but those spicy Asian chicken wings served on a Chairman Mao dinner plate in honor of The Grandmaster were pretty damn tasty too.

Either way, enjoy!

Asian chicken wings for The Grandmaster!

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Oscar Nominations 2014

I know I’m a week late with my coverage of this year’s Oscar nominations, but, trust me, it’s been one hell of a week. Took a road trip to Northern California over the weekend and then came home to all kinds of insanity, so, please forgive me.

That said, this year’s crop of movies is fantastic! Although we have yet to see several of the Best Picture nominees, we did manage to watch screeners of most of the heavy hitters this season over the holidays — and I saw and loved both American Hustle and Gravity last week on the big screen — so, we’re catching up.

AMERICAN HUSTLE movie poster

And while I’m pleased with almost all the nominees (except for the two acting nods for the overcooked melodrama of August: Osage County, which just might go on record as my least favorite Meryl Streep movie ever) the most exciting thing for me is that two of my all-time-favorite writer/directors of all time, Spike Jonze and Alfonso Cuarón, are finally getting some richly-deserved Oscar love from the Academy.

True, they’ve both been nominated before, but, never have they dominated the race as much as they do this year with their groundbreaking work on Gravity and Her. My dream outcome this year would be for Cuarón to take the directing Oscar for Gravity and for Jonze to take the screenplay award for Her. But, either way, I’m just happy they’re both in the running.

Speaking of writer/directors I love, I was very pleased to see David O. Russell returning to his goofy, idiosyncratic roots with the very cool American Hustle. The movie is big, messy and funny as hell and is probably Jonze’s stiffest competition in the Best Original Screenplay category, but, I loved it.

HER movie poster (2014)

GRAVITY movie poster (2014)

Also very glad to see Cate Blanchett snare a Best Actress nod and Woody Allen score his record 16th screenplay nomination for Blue Jasmine. But, my favorite nominee of all is probably Sally Hawkins who scored her first Oscar nomination for playing Blanchett’s sister in Jasmine. Blanchett deserves every award she’s won for the movie, but, without Hawkins beautifully-nuanced work to balance her performance out, Jasmine wouldn’t be nearly as good. Seriously, Hawkins is fantastic!

I also loved the fact that Nebraska scored so many major nods (go, June Squibb!) and that Frozen scored a Best Animated Film and song nomination for the epic “Let it Go.” We listen to that song daily in the car (I think I actually like it more than Greta does!) so, I’m dying to see which of the two versions will be performed at the Oscars: the rocking radio cut by Demi Lovato or the soaring Idina Menzel version from the movie. They’re both awesome, so, as long as they don’t roll out some other cheeseball to sing all the nominated songs, I’m cool.

BLUE JASMINE poster (2014)

BLUE JASMINE poster (2014)

Oh, and finally, in a year that has seen female employment rates in the industry drop to a 27 year low, I think it’s really cool that a female producer scored not one, but two Best Picture nominations this year. So, kudos to producer Megan Ellison for her fine work on Her and American Hustle.

To see a full list of all of this year’s contenders, click here.

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AFI’s 10 Best Movies & TV Shows (2013)

I was already feeling woefully behind in my award season movie watching when the American Film Institute released their ten best list this week and totally sealed the deal. Sadly, I have seen only one of the movies on this list. Yikes…

And though AFI’s annual list is hardly an accurate predictor of future Oscar glory, it definitely puts a spotlight on films with award season momentum. And with films like Her, 12 Years A Slave and American Hustle already doing very well with the National Board of Review and various film critics groups around the country, a nod from the AFI never hurt anyone.

So, while I try to scramble to find a babysitter so I can actually try and see some of these movies, please enjoy this year’s pick of AFI honorees.

AFI's top ten movies & TV shows (2013)

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